The Buffalo Sabres added another 2016 draft pick to their burgeoning stable thanks to a Game-7 loss by the Anaheim Ducks at the hands of the Nashville Predators. The conditional 3rd round pick Anaheim sent to Buffalo for Jamie McGinn now stands as the Ducks failed to make it to the Western Conference Finals. Had Anaheim won two playoff rounds and McGinn played in at least 50% of their games, that 2016 third-rounder would have converted to a 2017 2nd round pick.
As it stands right now the Sabres will have 12 picks in the upcoming draft to be held in Buffalo April 24-25:
1st--presently 8th overall
3rd--BUF, ANA (McGinn trade, 2015) STL (Ryan Miller, 2014) DAL (Johnas Enroth, 2015)
5th--BUF, MTL (Brian Flynn, 2015)
7th--BUF, MTL (Torrey Mitchell, 2015)
The third round of the NHL draft has produced a decent number of serviceable players throughout the years, but from 2000-2010 that round has yielded only six NHL All-Stars--F, Patrick Sharp (2001); D, Alexander Edler (2004); D, Kris Letang, G, Jonathan Quick, G, Ben Bishop (2005); G, Steve Mason (2006.)
Buffalo's picks during that time: 2000, none; 2001, none; 2002, Michael Tessier, John Adams; 2003, Clarke MacArthur; 2004, Andrej Sekera; 2005, Marc-Andre Gragnani; 2006, none; 2007, Corey Tropp; 2008 Corey Fienhage; 2009, Brayden McNabb; 2010, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Kevin Sundher, Matt MacKenzie
Sabres GM Tim Murray had a hand in drafts as Director of Player Personnel for Anaheim (2002-05,) and AGM for the Ottawa Senators from 2007-14 before coming to Buffalo. The third round picks for those organizations:
Anaheim--2002, Brian Lee; 2003, Shane Hynes, Juha Alen; 2004, Kyle Kluberantz, Tim Brent
Ottawa--2007, Louie Caporusso; 2008, Zack Smith; 2009, none; 2010, Jakub Kulek
Although it doesn't look very promising right now, recent drafts may have a little more to offer from the third round. Nicolas Baptiste (2013, 69th) just completed his first pro season and made great strides while goalie Johnas Johansson (2014, 61st) presently ranks third amongst Buffalo goalies, according to Kris Baker of sabresprospects.com. Defenseman Brycen Martin (2014, 74th) is Baker's second-best left-handed defenseman in the Sabres system.
With the track record of good goalies being selected in the third round, perhaps we may see the Sabres continue to lengthen the goalie pipeline with one of their four, 3rd round picks.
The Ducks/Preds Game-7 had a couple other Sabres-centric asides other than determining which pick Buffalo would get in the trade with Anaheim.
Former Sabres center Paul Gaustad scored what proved to be the game-winner last night on a tip in front of the net with just over four minutes left in the second period. Gaustad was the first of Darcy Regier's "core" to be traded and the deal netted Buffalo a first round pick in 2012. The pick was originally 21st-overall, but Regier added Buffalo's 42nd pick to move up to No. 14 where they selected Zemgus Girgensons.
Buffalo had previously acquired Calgary's 2nd-round pick as a part of the Robyn Regehr trade on June 25, 2011 and with that 44th-overall pick the Sabres selected defenseman, Jake McCabe in the 2012 NHL Draft.
McCabe, who just completed his first full NHL season at the age of 22, had attended the University of Wisconsin and captained the 2013 U.S. World Junior team to the gold medal in Ufa, Russia. "I really liked what he brought in Lake Placid in August," Team USA head coach Phil Housley said then. "He's very mature, probably mature beyond his years."
That's the same Phil Housley that was drafted right out of high school by the Sabres in 1982 (6th-overall,) spent the first eight seasons of his 22 NHL playing years in Buffalo and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Housley is in his third year as an assistant coach for the Nashville Predators and he helped them become victorious in their first-ever Game-7.